One Day Review
By Bret Dorman
Hey Holywood… I know sometimes you struggle with RomComs. How goofy is too goofy? Hint: Having CGI animals attack your characters while they make silly faces is too goofy. How romantic is too romantic? Hint: Kissing in the rain after a big speech is too romantic. How can I get people to take my Romcom more seriously? Hint: Set it in England.
One Day isn’t too goofy or too romantic. And it’s set in England.
The Story: Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) only see each other on July 15th. And over the course of many years they flirt, help with romance advice, don’t flirt, help with life advice, kind of flirt, take a vacation, and fall in love. Also, my birthday is July 11th so everytime ‘July 15th (insert year here)’ popped up to indicate a time change I thought “Hey! That’s almost my birthday!”
Having your characters only meet on one day can be a kind of super sappy gimmick that leads to some unnecessary challenges. Luckily, here it is used to spruce up an otherwise ‘will-they-won’t-they’ romance and the time jumps are handled clearly and realistically.
The problems is, this movie doesn’t know if it does want to be a ‘romcom’ or if it wants to be a sappy tearjerker movie.
The romcom aspect of this movie works really well on a subtle level. Its not too over the top silly moving from one awkward moment to the next. This movie didn’t have me uproariously laughing but there were small little things, one line in a conversation here or there, that would make me genuinely laugh. I liked that this movie was trying to stay true to the quirks of falling in love, being in a relationship you don’t want to be in, and seeing someone you like in another relationship.
Emma is a nice likable character. She is kind of a nerd and awkward and smart and funny. She is also cute and sometimes sexy. Dexter is not a likable character. He is a womanizer, does drugs, is full of himself, does that romcom thing of wanting to do the right thing but saying the wrong thing only to regret it later. It’s sort of nice because Emma sees the good in him and actually brings out his best qualities when he’s sober but sometimes you wish she could find someone else.
The tearjerker part of this movie comes in at the end. Not to give away specifics, but something sad does happen. Its not the fact that something sad happens, but that it stays on that point and really strives to hit it home. Ending on a sad moment can be fine, especially if it’s important to the story, but here they just wallow in sadness for no reason. Let a sad moment be just that, a moment. Not 20 minutes.
It’s not that I need a happy ending, but the movie seems to have more on its mind and never quite says it. Its a movie that says more in subtleties, in captured moments, but in the grand scheme of things left me rather underwhelmed.
In Conclusion, One Day starts off with a nice portrayal of a friendship that could lead to something more. It has some nice, real moments in the characters interactions and seems to be going in one direction. Then it takes a sharp turn and throws out all the momentum it had and makes what was genuine rather pointless.
Final Grade: C